Powerful Perception

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edited by Yvonne.

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Marie Lou

Marie Lou is a French artist longing for more lesbian smut and general content (and archive! Forever more archive!). Meanwhile she laughs very hard, does bad puns and silly drawings. Sometimes she draws serious comics, commissioned illustrations and develops her fine art project about mapping people's identity journeys.

Marie has written 1 article for us.


  1. Ooof. This was powerful.

    Your acknowledgment, integration, and claiming of your experience, of the truth of your own perception.

    Your ability to draw out and express the meaning of your story, of the value of your viewpoint.

    Thank you for sharing your power, for sharing your multi-faceted being <3

    • Ooof was exactly what I thought too.

      I have spent more time than I like to think about dressing fairly masculinely for the specific purpose of being taken seriously by a boss I believed would see me as frivolous if there was anything feminine about my presentation. Pissed me off – not that I lean particularly femme, but if I feel like wearing a skirt I shouldn’t have to worry about the repercussions.

      Hang in there, Marie Lou, your power and worth exist regardless of how other people perceive your gender presentation.

  2. I love this so much! I’ve recently wondered about drag, but honestly had the concern that what would happen to you would happen to me–that suddenly I’d be read so much differently w/r/t power just cause my presentation became more masc. <3 Sorry you experienced that, friend.

  3. Damn while I have never done drag, I feel this so hard. I work with mainly cishet men and feel such a marked difference in how likely coworkers are to accept me as knowledgeable on a subject based on how feminine/masculine I dress that day. It’s totally discouraging to see clothing/presentation play such a big role in how seriously I am taken!

  4. Oh, gods, yes. I spend a lot of time thinking about what it means to appear conventionally powerful from a femme position, and given the amount of time I spend thinking about it I really should have some good ideas—but I don’t. Our cultural perceptions of power and masculinity are intrinsically linked. Strike a “male” pose, adapt “male” clothing.

    The powerful femme who remains femme is often the “spooky” one, the hard femme witchy goth whose power lies in defying patriarchal expectations. But the power to make people uncomfortable—much as I relished in it during high school—can be a very negative experience—as I also experienced during frequent random street harassment in high school—and it’s not what we conventionally think of as power and its uses are limited compared to the “male power”. Likewise you have the femme fatale, whose power is the control over conventional cishet sexuality. A type of power, certainly, but quite limited, like the outcast’s power, and lacking respect, just like the outcast’s. Plus, highlighting a femme’s ability to repel or entice cis men as “femme power” feels very patriarchal, sexist, heteronormative, and a lot like something a gender essentialist would do.

    So where does that leave us?? Adapting “masculine power” to fit our femininity, decade after decade, until it’s de-masculinised?

  5. It’s been rolling around my skull for a week now from awful purple prose on radiating power in feminine to simple our society ingrains us so deeply with the idea of masculinity as power even those of us who have divorced ourselves from mainstream societies can’t escape it.

    The only way I know how to radiate power while presenting or performing femininity is through villainy, embracing a soul devouring bitch goddess from hell attitude and aesthetic. And that aesthetic takes effort 5x the effort masculinity does from wardrobe & makeup to constant awareness of posture, and some of the efforts like heels I’m not really capable of anymore. If I slouch while performing any kind of femininity I look vulnerable and under-confident, but if my presentation is taken as masculine my slouching makes me look like a rebel or a rake.
    I’m louche, and cool.

    Sometimes we talk about how maleness like whiteness is treated as the neutral, the default but it’s not as simple as that. Perception of power and competence is wrapped up in them both.

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